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Title: International law, colonialism and the concept of indigenous peoples in Africa
Author: Bojosi, Kealeboga N.
ISNI:       0000 0003 8172 9137
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis draws on the conventional narrative that the concept of indigenous peoples developed within the context of the colonial encounter and that the norms that developed within that context aimed at regulating the relations between colonial settlers and the indigenous peoples. However, the thesis argues that international law, guided by colonial imperatives, developed parallel principles and norms to regulate relations between colonial settlers and the natives in different contexts. In territories marked unsuitable for permanent and extensive European settlement, trusteeship and eventual decolonisation were prescribed. Whilst the international law rhetoric of trusteeship putatively applied to all indigenous peoples, in reality the indigenous peoples in territories marked suitable for permanent European settlement were decidedly excluded from the practical implementation of this doctrine, from the West Africa Berlin Conference through to the Trusteeship Council of the UN. This would receive international juridical imprimatur through the so-called saltwater thesis. This exclusion became the conceptual pivot of the emergent international indigenous peoples' movement aimed at rectifying the obvious anomaly of the selective decolonisation process. The thesis further argues that the contemporary norms of international law on indigenous peoples developed within this context to regulate specific socio-economic, political and historical contexts. Furthermore, it contends that the perceived indigenous peoples' problematique in Africa is partly a broader post-colonial manifestation of the manner in which international law sought to manage the colonial encounter in Africa through the creation of pseudo-European political, economic and social institutions and policies that presently exist. The thesis deconstructs the conceptual basis for the application of the concept of indigenous peoples in post-colonial Africa and argues that a less controversial approach is to focus on the norms within the African Charter on Human Peoples' Rights and general international law that do not depend on the flawed conceptual assumptions of indigenous peoples.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available